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April 24, 2014

Posts in "Tea Party"

March 13, 2014

Pelosi: Obamacare Not to Blame for Alex Sink’s Defeat

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi rejected the premise that Democrat Alex Sink’s loss to Republican David Jolly in Tuesday night’s Florida special election was a referendum on Obamacare.

“I’m very proud of our House Democrats, not only how they’ve embraced the Affordable Care Act, because they helped create it, but how proud they are of it,” the California Democrat said at her weekly news conference Thursday morning. “I think the Republicans are wasting their time using that as their election issue and they will find that out.”

Pelosi also praised Sink, noting that the race was close and it was a district Republicans had held for 50 years.

“Our candidate Alex Sink, she was so excellent, she was so superb, and she said it just right: There are many good things about the Affordable Care Act that are good for the health and wellbeing for the American people, there are some things that need to be fixed,” Pelosi countered. “And that is the message of our members.” Full story

March 11, 2014

Issa Issues Report Ripping Lois Lerner

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Darrell Issa has apologized to Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking Democrat Elijah E. Cummings for cutting off his mic, but the chairman isn’t changing the course of his committee.

The California Republican issued a 141-page report Tuesday on the involvement of Lois Lerner, the former director of IRS exempt organizations, in the targeting of prospective tax-exempt organizations. Full story

February 27, 2014

Tea Party Pointing Fingers at GOP Leadership, 5 Years In

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Rick Santelli rant heard ’round the world five years ago is credited with starting the tea party, and if you ask Republicans in Congress, the conservative movement has a mixed legacy.

“There’s a reality that we have a president that is further left than any president we’ve ever had in history, and there’s a reality that Harry Reid is a compliant, willing accomplice of the president to accomplish his agenda,” Rep. Michele Bachmann told CQ Roll Call. “So knowing that, I think the tea party is doing as well as it can.”

The Minnesota Republican founded and is still serving as chairwoman of Congress’ Tea Party Caucus, but she is calling it quits this year instead of seeking re-election.

Bachmann identified the 2010 election as “clearly” the “high-water mark” for the movement: “The tea party was responsible for removing the gavel from Nancy Pelosi’s hands and putting it in John Boehner’s hand and making him speaker. That effectively put the brakes on the Obama agenda in a very forthright way.”

But five years in, the political movement is not easy to evaluate. Among the sentiments we heard from Republican lawmakers as we assessed the tea party over the past week were that it’s been successful, that it’s pushed legislative change on spending issues, that it’s still experiencing growing pains, and even that it’s “dangerous.”

Full story

February 7, 2014

Steve Scalise Collects Conservative Victories, Looks to Health Care

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In his Rayburn office on Capitol Hill, Rep. Steve Scalise has a case of triumphs.

The Louisiana Republican exhibits an impressive array of corks under glass in a custom-made display-box coffee table. Each was popped from a Champagne bottle to mark a momentous occasion: averting the New Year’s 2013 fiscal cliff, personal achievements such as becoming chairman of the Republican Study Committee and local legislative milestones such as funding for the Gulf Coast recovery.

A Sharpie pen marks the date of consumption, and the corks rest near small gold plates inscribed with the events that called for the bubbly.

With more than a dozen in all, Scalise hopes he’ll add to the collection in the months he has left before the end of his term leading the influential RSC.

Scalise’s broad mission, he told CQ Roll Call, is “to help move leadership to a more conservative place.”

And while that could easily be the stated goal of every RSC chairman, Scalise now has an even bigger task before him: offering the American voting public a glimpse of what kind of policy Congress could send to the president’s desk if only there were a Republican Senate to help.

“It’s important what we do the rest of the year,” Scalise said in the course of two more-than-20-minute sit-down interviews. “I want us to be bold.”

Full story

February 4, 2014

Is Boehner’s Gavel on the Line?

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Labrador said Tuesday that the issue of immigration could cost Boehner his speakership. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 8:15 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner should lose his gavel if he pursues immigration this year, a prominent tea party Republican said in an interview with CQ Roll Call on Tuesday.

“I think it should cost him his speakership,” Rep. Raúl R. Labrador of Idaho warned, if Boehner puts an immigration overhaul on the floor.

But even if Boehner shelves immigration, Labrador said, the party needs new leadership — and the two-term lawmaker is not ruling out a run for leadership himself.

“There is a hunger in the conference for bold, visionary leaders, and this is not just conservatives — you talk to more middle-of-the-road members of the conference, they’re kind of frustrated with the direction of this leadership, and they’re looking for ways to change that,” he said. Full story

January 31, 2014

Waxman’s Retirement Spurs Race for his Committee Slot and a Slew of Speculation

waxman010914 330x212 Waxmans Retirement Spurs Race for his Committee Slot and a Slew of Speculation

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

At the end of this year, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will lose another close ally — and fellow Californian, no less — in 40-year House veteran Henry A. Waxman.

Sources close to Democratic leadership say they don’t suspect that Waxman’s retirement, announced Thursday morning, will leave the same gaping hole in Pelosi’s carefully-curated inner circle as will the year-end departure of another 20-term California Rep., Education and the Workforce ranking member George C. Miller.

But his retirement will set off what Democratic aides expect to be a fierce competition for the party’s top seat on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Full story

January 24, 2014

GOP Chair: Invite People to State of the Union ‘Left Behind’ by Obama

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Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (CQ Roll Call File Photo/Douglas Graham)

A member’s “plus-one” to the State of the Union is one of the hottest tickets in town, and this year the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference is asking members to invite constituents with “compelling stories” to share.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., who will also be delivering the official Republican counterpoint-address to President Barack Obama’s speech next Tuesday, has formally urged her colleagues to fill the House chamber with “American people who are being left behind by this President’s policies.”

“The stories of hardworking Americans will help us offer a compelling, articulate response to the State of the Union,” she explained in an email to GOP Congressional offices on Jan. 8.

“Whether it is a mom struggling to find a job, a senior worried about access to doctors, or a high school student with dreams to create the next Uber, the stories of hardworking Americans will help us offer a compelling, articulate response to the State of the Union,” McMorris Rodgers said.
Full story

Boehner Tells Leno Government Shutdown a ‘Predictable Disaster’

In between quips about his tan complexion and common mispronunciations of his name, Speaker John A. Boehner acknowledged, in a Thursday evening interview with comedian Jay Leno, that Republicans were to blame for the government shutdown.

“It was a very predictable disaster, and the sooner we got it over with, the better,” the Ohio Republican said during his televised appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

“I told my colleagues in July I didn’t think shutting down the government over Obamacare would work because the President said, ‘I’m not going to negotiate,’” Boehner continued. “And so I told them in August ‘Probably not a good idea.’ Told them in early September. But when you have my job, there’s something you have to learn … When I looked up, I saw my colleagues going this way. And you learn that a leader without followers is simply a man taking a walk … So I said, ‘You want to fight this fight? I’ll go fight the fight with you.’” Full story

January 15, 2014

Appropriations Chairman ‘Giddy’ Over Blowout Omnibus Vote

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers said he was “almost giddy” after the strong bipartisan vote to pass the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill on the House floor Wednesday afternoon.

“This gives us a big boost here, this vote, this big vote,” said the Kentucky Republican, “this spirit and attitude that prevailed.” Full story

5 Interesting Tidbits From Conversations With Conservatives (Updated) (Video)

A monthly meeting with the press and conservatives lawmakers has become a must-attend event — and not just for the free Chick-fil-A.

The Conversations with Conservatives event, hosted by the Heritage Foundation, brings a group of the most far-right legislators on Capitol Hill together to discuss a wide range of topics. And while lawmakers were, unexpectedly, a bit more reserved on topics like the omnibus this month, they had plenty to say on other issues.

Here are five interesting tidbits from the discussion: Full story

December 30, 2013

The House Year in Review

This year, doing the business of the People’s House was, at best, a struggle. It’s well-known that 2013 was, legislatively, the least productive session in congressional history. Leaders strained to get to 218 — a majority in the 435-seat House (in case you had no idea where the blog name came from). And there were some pretty notable news stories as a result of all this congressional dysfunction.

But as painful as the year was for members, covering the House was a pleasure, one which we here at 218 only had the honor of doing for about half the year.

In that short time, 218 — or “Goppers,” as we were formerly known, which rhymes with “Whoppers,” for all you still wondering about that — had more than a few favorite stories.

Among the labors of love, there was a piece about the 10 Republicans who could one day be speaker, a story on an internal August playbook that went out to House Republicans telling them to profess how they were fighting Washington, and a piece (in response to his “calves the size of cantaloupes” comment) asking the question: How do you solve a problem like Steve King? Full story

December 13, 2013

Ryan Talks GOP Budget Friction, Boehner’s Blowups on ‘Meet the Press’

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Ryan, left, and Boehner both spoke in support of the budget deal earlier this week. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., is choosing his words carefully when discussing the tenuous relationship between GOP lawmakers and conservative outside groups.

In sneak-peek excerpts from an interview to be aired on NBC’s “Meet the Press” this Sunday,  Ryan — who sat for questions with host David Gregory alongside Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash. — conceded that he was “frustrated” with outside advocacy groups, such as Heritage Action for America and Americans for Prosperity, which “came out in opposition to our budget agreement before we reached a budget agreement.”

But Ryan was quick with a caveat, adding, “I think these taxpayer groups are indispensable to keeping taxpayer interest accounted for, keeping people accountable. Full story

RSC Members Reflect on Paul Teller’s Departure

Dozens of prominent conservatives off Capitol Hill are rushing to the defense of Paul Teller, the longtime executive director of the Republican Study Committee who was fired on Wednesday.

Republicans inside the halls of Congress, however, are split.

Some members have expressed sympathy for the man they considered a friend and ally.

“I’ll tell you, my first reaction to hearing the news was, ‘How can I hire him?’” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan.

Others said he had a history of undermining committee confidentiality agreements, leaking conversations to outside groups and actively working against the RSC when it was pushing a strategy with which he disagreed. Full story

December 12, 2013

House Passes Budget Deal

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House passed a budget agreement Thursday night that, though modest, could fundamentally change how Capitol Hill functions for the remainder of the 113th Congress.

Lawmakers voted 332-94 on the deal negotiated by House Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash.

Breaking the vote down by party, Republicans were split 169-62, while Democrats divided themselves 163-32.

The vote was a difficult one for many members. Full story

December 10, 2013

33 House Republicans Want a Sequester-Level CR, Just in Case

Thirty-three conservative House Republicans — including one committee chairman — have signed onto a letter urging leadership to bring to the floor a “clean” one-year continuing resolution that funds the government at sequester levels.

But don’t construe this plea as a coordinated assault on a budget deal that could emerge as soon as Tuesday afternoon, according to Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, who spearheaded the letter along with Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise.

And don’t use it to characterize how all the lawmakers would vote should the deal replace the sequester, as expected.

“The letter is not, ‘What are we going to vote for, what can we support?,’” Mulvaney told CQ Roll Call in a phone interview. “All we’re saying is, ‘Look, if we don’t get anything we can support, we are not going to tolerate a government shutdown.’” Full story

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